Main Objectives

Although both methodologically and theoretically such a project is an innovative, if difficult, task, a historically informed research can be really valuable as it can produce meaningful outcomes and insights, both concerning the academic discussion and the public opinion. Furthermore in the last months of the Synthesis we aim to revisit some of the basic concepts of the research in the light of new data. Being aware of the trap of apparent and simplistic similarities or differences and by building on critical literature of the relevant fields, we will attempt to:

  1. Analyze what is described as a “crisis”, when, how, by whom and how this description works in public discourse, policy making and local settings. For example, even a cursory examination of the refugee numbers shows that in the “crisis” of 1922 one million people arrived in a Country of 5 million inhabitants (Υπουργείον Εθνικής Οικονομίας 1933), while in the “crisis” of 2015 an equivalent number of refugees arrived in the whole of Europe, with only 67.000 actually settling in Greece, a country of 10 million people (Hellenic Republic General Secretariat for Media and Communication 2017). This contrast shows that framings of “crisis” are not neutral but embedded within the social, political and economic relations of their times.
  2. Critically think around the humanitarian sector mobilized in conditions of “crisis”. Consider whether and in which ways the necessary delivery of relief and also long-term assistance is accompanied by a host of other, implicit social processes and practices, from the “NGOization” of the State’s social policies to the de-politicization and de-historization of massive displacement and of the refugees themselves (Malkki 1996).
  3. Unpack the production of the figure of the refugee and the characteristics attributed to them in different spatio-temporal scales. Analyze the construction of “refugees” as an object of knowledge and policy making -by journalists, academics, humanitarian actors, policy makers- in these very different periods. As, for example, in our times the common perception of the refugee is as someone who is culturally, linguistically, ethnically, religiously “other”, it is interesting to contrast this perception with a period when the refugee was the “same”.
  4. Create an analogy around the ways these two refugee “crises” were managed in the different periods. Which actors were involved, how much money were spent and on what, how the settlement was organised which what aims and results. To critically think how political and economic priorities are articulated in different periods in relation to massive population movements.